The question is not whether to promote or not to promote, but rather when to promote
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The Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) is one of South Africa's largest and most popular arts festivals. The success of the festival is dependent on the number of tickets sold. Therefore, in order to ensure an increase in ticket sales, the festival organisers/marketers need to know how long before the event visitors decide to attend the festival so that they can plan their promotional strategy and know how long before the festival the event should be promoted. The purpose of this research is to segment visitors to the KKNK based on their decision-making style and, more specifically, their planning time. To achieve this goal, a questionnaire survey was conducted at the festival in 2011 (2–9 April), where 479 questionnaires were administered. A distinction was made between different market segments based on their decision-making time. Two segments were identified namely Extended and routine decision-makers and Spontaneous decision-makers. Two-way frequency tables and Chi-square tests as well as ANOVAs and Tukey's multiple comparisons identified the differences between the segments based on socio-demographics, behavioural characteristics and overall satisfaction as well as travel motivation. The results showed significant differences between the two decision-making segments and indicated that marketing should be done within specific time frames in order to attract both visitor groups. This research thus addresses the issue of when arts festivals such as the KKNK should promote themselves and what should be included in the marketing messages.